Tag Archives: Sewing

A Zero Waste Dress for a Wedding

A couple of weeks ago I made this (mostly) zero waste pattern for my sister to wear to a wedding that she’s going to next year. I used the Daisy DIY Maya Dress tutorial and it was so easy to follow. The only wasted bits of fabric were the scoops you take out of the front and back necklines.

You use your own measurement to decide how but each piece needs to be. Luckily the fabric Phoebe had bought was the exact right width to get her bodice fronts and backs from one full width. The rest of the pieces used a full width too – it was a narrow width cotton. The sleeves and the ruffle at the bottom ended up being the same height, not necessarily by design but it was a happy accident. And the ruffle at the bottom was 3 widths of the fabric in total and ended up using the full length we had left. There were 3m in total of the fabric.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I did so much gathering – or any gathering for that matter! But since there are no closures, it’s a pretty quick sew – the slowest thing was hemming all the ruffles!

We did decide to use some scraps of plain navy fabric to add some pockets – because who doesn’t like pockets?! And since I took these photos I also added some waist ties, from the same navy fabric, because whereas I like the loose billowy look, Phoebe wanted to be able to shape it a little at the waist. I used the Hinterland Dress pattern pieces as a guide, and we used it for the neck shaping too as Phoebe has like 8 Hinterlands and likes the neckline, and how you can tie it for a looser or tighter fit as needed.

She was originally going to make the Zadie Jumpsuit for her wedding outfit, but then we saw about buffet dresses being a thing on the sewing bee and it seemed like it would be easier to fit, cool to wear if the weather is hot – and you avoid the whole ‘naked on the toilet’ problem you have with jumpsuits!

I really enjoyed sewing this dress, after I got over the stress of cutting into the fabric and praying our measurements were okay! It was nice to sew something for someone else and to do something relatively simple. I definitely have my eye on another of Daisy DIY’s tutorials for some fabric I’ve had for a while in my stash – I’m probably going to do the Gathered Rectangle Dress. I’ve measured my fabric and I just about have enough – and with the hot weather we’ve been having, I think it might need to be my next project! I don’t have any summer dresses really!

My niece wanted to be in the photos too! It looks like the greatest photobomb!

I made ALL THE UNDERWEAR

If you don’t follow me on YouTube (or Instagram) you may not have seen that I have made rather a lot of underwear in the last few weeks! I have a whole new underwear wardrobe, which is awesome because I was getting a bit low on pants – does anyone else find lots of pairs seem to wear out all at the same time, leaving you with barely a week’s worth? Well I no longer have that problem, lol.

Fair warning: there are a lot of photos in this post. You can see a video of all the combinations on YouTube or Instagram Reels.

The 2 patterns I used for all of these makes were the Sophie Hines Axis Tank – which I took off 5cm from for the bralette versions and added 7cm to for the vest versions; and the Megan Nielsen Acacia Pants – which is free, and which I added 4cm to the rise of as I like my pants to sit slightly higher. The Axis Tank goes up to a 50″ bust, 42″ waist, and the Acacia Pants go up to a 48″ waist and 58″ hip. It’s free to newsletter subscribers.

I decided I wanted most of my underwear to be made from nice, breathable jerseys. I did use some random stuff from the stash (the navy, mustard stripe and navy stripe) but I also ordered some bamboo jerseys from Ray Stitch, plus the mustardy-peach was a different organic jersey (but not bamboo).

This was my first time sewing with bamboo jersey and while it is really soft and lovely to wear, it wasn’t my favourite to sew with, if I’m honest. It’s very slippery and I’m often a bit slapdash with cutting out so some of my pieces maybe weren’t quite the exact right shape/size but it all seemed to work out okay in the end. I’m happy to have a break from sewing with it though!

I bought a bunch of foldover elastic from ebay and it obviously isn’t the best quality but it’s good enough and the thicker stuff I bought is actually a little too strong so it’s a delicate balance finding the right elastic, imho. I did have some bright blue elastic which was just about enough for one pair of pants so I used it on a white pair for maximum contrast and I do love this pair!

I know it might be kind of a boring colour, but I think the grey ones might be my favourite. I only ordered white, black and navy elastic so I decided to use white elastic on the grey (I briefly considered black but it didn’t look as good) and I’m really happy with how they look.

I just realised I didn’t mention the sizes I made – I made the size xs of the Axis tank and the size 2 of the Acacia pants. My measurements are 32″ bust, 25″ waist, 35″ hip.

At some point in the last 18 months/ 2 years or so I decided I didn’t want to keep wearing underwired bras. In the Winter, working in a freezing cold bookshop, I’d be wearing 8 layers of clothes on average, so it really didn’t matter whether I had a bra on or not and I got used to not wearing them. Then when I tried after a break, I felt like the wire was REALLY digging into my ribs – I guess that was always the case, but I was used to it? I then decided I needed some soft bralettes for when I want a layer underneath my clothes. Luckily I don’t feel like I need the support of underwiring.

I had a mammoth cutting out session of cutting out all the things before I moved (at the beginning of May) so I would have some projects ready to go for after the move. I thought batch sewing would be fun – and the actual construction seams are really minimal across both patterns (2 gussets via the burrito method and side seams for the pants; and one back seam and 2 shoulder seams for the tank). But then there’s the hem bands and the elastic. I definitely would be happy to not sew any elastic for a while!

In total I made 4 pairs of pants in each plain colour (black, white, grey, navy, mustardy-peach) and 2 in the mustard stripe. Then I made 2 bralettes and one vest in each of the plain colours, plus one vest in each of the striped fabrics. It definitely should keep me going for a while! I could maybe cut out individual items when I’m next making a knit project to use up any scraps but I don’t want to batch in the same way again!

This striped fabric is actually a ponte and it doesn’t really have enough stretch to be as easy to get on and off or as comfortable to wear.

I am digging how from the back it looks like an old fashioned style swimming costume! I was thinking before I took all these photos that actually these 2 patterns could make a good bikini-type swimming costume. I would leave the pants as they are and maybe use the original length of the Axis Tank for the top – I think the vest is a little too long and the bralette a little too short. Not that I ever wear swimming costumes, but I’m kind of digging the idea now I’ve thought of it! I might keep my eyes open for some nice swim fabric (oooh, maybe a mix and match set with 2 pairs….)

I do really love this fabric. It’s been sitting in my stash for ages, waiting for the right project and I’m glad I’ve finally used some up. I think I might still have enough left for a t-shirt so I might have to move that to the top of my to-make list. I’m definitely craving some simpler projects to cleanse my palette from the endless elastic and hem band sewing!

I said for the longest time that I wasn’t going to bother making underwear as it would be too fiddly, I can buy it and there are more fun and exciting projects to make! But then last year I was furloughed for months and months and so had the time to work through my whole back-catalogue of projects I wanted to make and so suddenly making underwear seemed useful instead of a waste of time. I maybe could have made fewer items (lol) but at least I’m all set for a good while. Now I’ve finished them all, maybe I can make some completely frivolous frosting makes to try different fabrics? Or do some proper full on tailoring? Or some hand sewn projects? Who knows…..

Making Period Pants

As I mentioned in my YouTube video about making underwear, one of the reasons I wanted to have a go at making underwear, and pants in particular, was to make some period pants – it seemed like this is a rare instance when making something could be cheaper than buying it!

Sophie Hines has some great tutorials on her website to help you know what supplies you need and how to alter your favourite pattern to be period pant friendly.

The main change you’ll want to do is to lengthen the gusset so you get better coverage than a standard gusset. I guess if you have some really light days you might be able to use a standard sized gusset for some pairs. I made 5 pairs in total, all with the lengthened gusset so I’d have flexibility for when in my period I choose to use them. I also bought a menstrual cup to have a fully sustainable period and I’ve been using that on the first couple of heaviest days, then the pants when it’s lighter towards the end.

You’ll also need to change the front and back pattern pieces by an equivalent amount to take account of the new longer gusset. I added around 6cm to the back and 5cm to the front of the gusset, then reshaped the other pieces accordingly. I made the size 2 of Megan Nielsen Acacia Pants, which is a free pattern and goes up to a 48″ waist and a 58″ hip. I already added around 4cm to the rise as I like my pants to sit a little higher than the pattern is drafted for.

The next thing you need to do is collect your supplies. This was the part I was most anxious about as I didn’t want to order the wrong things and discover at an inopportune moment that the pants didn’t function as I wanted them to. Muna and Broad also have a lot of good information about the kinds of supplies you need, which helped me a lot. Basically you need 3 layers: a moisture-wicking fabric, an absorbent later and a waterproof layer. Bamboo jersey, which I used for my underwear is actually a great moisture-wicking option. For the absorbent layer I ordered Zorb, which is a popular fabric for resuable nappies and period pants alike. I ordered a metre and I definitely didn’t need that much – you could definitely get away with half a metre (or maybe even less) for 5 pairs.

For the waterproof layer I ordered PUL (ProSoft Waterproof) in black – again I ordered a metre, and again I didn’t need anywhere near that much! I ordered both fabrics, which I’ve also linked in their names, from Cuddle Plush Fabrics, which I had not heard of before but they have lots of niche performance fabrics, so it would definitely be worth a look if you’re after some high performance fabrics (and you’re in the UK). Looking at their website today, it looks like they now have some recycled fabrics now, which is pretty exciting! The waterproof fabric has a right side and a wrong side, btw, and should not be pinned – I used some of those handy clippy things.

And here is the finished article – they’re not the most glamourous thing, and they look kind of badly made flat on the table, but they look okay on. I did have some wider fold over elastic for some of the pairs (but I ran out before I could do them all), also from Cuddle Plush Fabrics, and it was definitely better for the leg seams as they end up quite bulky and trying to neatly enclose everything with narrow foe was rage-inducing to say the least!

Mersis Dress for a wedding?

Just before I moved, I decided to make a Mersis Dress I had been planning to wear to a wedding that was to take place this Summer (having been postponed from last year), but it has been postponed by another year – but at least I’m ready early and won’t be sewing the hem on the train on my way there!

This is the Mersis Dress by Pattern Fantastique – I totally lusted after their sequinned version and immediately knew it could be a good option for this crepe I had been hoarding for my wedding outfit. There were going to be two weddings last year but one did take place with only 20 people and the other has been postponed – you wait ages for a good wedding, 2 come along at once, swiftly followed by a global pandemic!

I was originally going to make the Zadie Jumpsuit, which looks amazing on everyone I’ve ever seen it on! But then I thought about the whole ‘having to get naked to go to the toilet’ thing and decided maybe a dress would be more practical for tipsy toilet trips!

I especially love the shape of the back neckline and I’m so pleased I decided to make this pattern. It feels really loose and relaxed on, but still looks chic I think, and has interest in the ginormous sleeves!

I made the size 10 with no changes – it’s such a loose fit all over that it’s not too difficult to fit but I wanted the shoulders and neckline to fit nicely and I think I made the right choice of size. The pattern goes up to a size 26, which is 51″ bust, 44″ waist and 54″ hip. It’s not the most inclusive set of sizes but they used to only go up to a size 16 so they have improved what they offer, so I felt okay about buying the pattern.

The crepe was something I bought from an instagram destash and there was 3m, which was lucky because being so long, this does take up quite a lot of fabric. I am 5’3″ and didn’t make any changes to the length, though I like that it sits a little longer on me than in the pattern images – I assume it’s drafted for the standard 5’6″, though I can’t find that info on the website. I definitely should have ironed the dress before I took these photos, though!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before, but I can be a bit slapdash with cutting out – I like to batch but out a few projects at a time and tend to do them a but quickly, especially if the fabric is a bit shifty, which this was. I definitely could have taken more care with the cutting out as some of my pieces ended up not quite fitting perfectly. The pockets also gape a little bit as I matched the notches instead of following my instinct to get them to lie flat, though I don’t think it looks terrible – it follows the line of the curved side seam.

I think I would be interested to make this pattern again, in a more stable fabric as a slightly glam summer dress. It could lend itself to some colour-blocking too, as there are some interesting seam lines. I also kind of want a sequinned version still…

Of course I might still change my mind about wearing this to the wedding by the time it comes around, but then I think I won’t possibly ever wear this, so I should stick to my guns. But sewing a new thing is always fun – and having an event as an excuse is my favourite thing…..

Refashioning a Shirt (sort of)

It feels like it’s been a while since I refashioned anything and this is definitely not the best, nor the most involved refashion I’ve done. It’s also been a while since I’ve updated this blog and the new wordpress editor is the actual worst thing I’ve ever been forced to use – at least before you could use the old interface but it seems they’ve removed that as an option. Urgh.

This is a shirt that my mum bought for my ex-partner and it was too big for him so he never wore it. Then I decided it was more in my colour palette anyway so I commandeered it and decided to take it in a bit as it was too big for me too. I definitely could have taken it in more though.

I did these alterations a while ago and I seem to have not written down the alterations I made. I took some length off the back by re-sewing the seam at the bottom of the yoke.

I also took off the sleeves, trimmed the shoulders on the shirt and the sleeves and sewed them back on – but they are still way too long on me so I should probably take them off again and take them in more but for now I’m just wearing it with the cuffs folded back and it seems to work fine.

The shirt is made from almost a flannel fabric so it’s pretty warm, which has been great with this never-ending cold weather we’ve been having in the UK. I think for next Winter I want some full-on flannel shirts though. My flannel pyjamas are so warm I want to live in them when it’s cold so, even though I already have a bajillion shirts, there might be some more on the horizon!

I feel like I want to be maybe a bit more adventurous with my next refashion project as I don’t tend to think hugely outside the box! And I’m inspired by the Sewing Bee to try some more outrageous refashions – though maybe not in only 90 minutes!